Pet Insurance Blog – Pets Best Insurance
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Preventing Hemangiosarcomas and a Cat Who Chews Metal

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 by

Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m at home today answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page.

The first question comes from Yasmina, who says, “Is there a supplement or food that I can feed to prevent hemangiosarcoma? I lost a 10-year-old dog to this disease recently.”

I’m so sorry for your lose of your dog. Hemangiosarcoma is a really horrible cancer. Unfortunately, there’s not really a food or supplement, or anything that you can do, to prevent this disease. You might consider getting pet insurance so that finances aren’t a factor if your dog does get this horrible disease, so you can offer them the best possible treatment.

The next question comes from Ann Marie, who says, “My cat, Pickles, likes to chew on metal things; iron, silver, aluminum. Can cats need iron supplements? Can they crave it? I’m worried about his teeth.”

This is a great question. It’s possible that this is just behavioral. He likes shiny things or he likes the way they taste. It is a little bit worrying for me because cats can get certain toxicities from metal. For example, pennies and other things that have zinc in it can be really toxic to cats. I would try to discourage him from chewing on these metal objects.

There’s a possibility that there could be some sort of an underlying anemia. Sometimes cats can crave non-food objects. You might contact your veterinarian and have a blood work-up done. If everything comes back normal, you’re probably looking at a behavioral problem.

If you guys have pet health questions for me, feel free to post them at Facebook.com/PetsBestInsurance..
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Five ways to find a dog name you love

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 by

A puppy with pet insurance chews on a shoe.

By: Chryssa Rich
For Pets Best Insurance

Congratulations, you’ve just come home with a brand new dog! Before you even look into a pet insurance plan for him, you’ll have to find the perfect name.

For some reason, people seem to have more trouble coming up with boy dog names than they do girl names. In fact, the top five male dog names on almost any list are cute but pretty ordinary. Chances are you want something more original than “Max”. (No offense to those who love classic names!) Here’s how to get some inspiration.

1. Remember the moment you adopted him
Think about when and where you found your dog. Was the street name interesting? Whether he was from a breeder, a shelter or running loose– would any of the associated names be a good fit? How was the weather that day? Was it on a holiday? Questions like these can lead you to unique or funny names with personal meaning, like Cole, Sunny or Turkey.

2. Think of your favorite cities
If you’ve traveled and found places you really love, consider using one of those names for your dog. Some of our Facebook friends have named their dogs Holbrook, Cutler, Brooklyn, Aspen and Dallas, after cities they love. One friend named her dogs after rivers in Ireland. London, Phoenix and Hamilton would also make proud dog names.

3. Name him after another animal
Does your new pup behave like another type of animal? Maybe he hops, hides, or makes funny squeaky noises. If so, consider names like Bunny, Turtle, Bear, Birdie or even Kitty.

4. Go through your Facebook lists
If you like giving pets people names, Facebook can be a great resource. Where else can you find thousands of names in just a couple of clicks? You may not want to name your dog after someone you already know, so poke around friends-of-friend’s lists and see if you find anything you really like. I’ll admit I found my dog’s name that way. I asked a friend to read through her friends list and when I heard “Jayda”, it immediately made my short list.

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5. Honor your favorite famous person …or beverage
Think about your favorite movies, TV shows, sporting events or historical figures. You could name your dog after a funny character (stage name or real name), or after an athlete you find impressive. One Facebook friend named her cats Monet and Picasso, and another named her dog Stoli Vanilla. There’s even an adorable Aldo Ray, named after the American actor of the ‘50s – ‘80s.

Once you’ve chosen a name, think through your family members’ names and make sure none are too similar sounding – that could cause problems when training your new dog. And if the day comes when you’re having second thoughts, check out our blog with great tips on how to change your pet’s name.

After you’ve decided on something that fits your pet perfectly, be sure to sign him up for dog insurance.

For more information about pet health and behavior, or for more information about pet insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.

New Year, New Pet? 3 Factors to Consider Before Getting a Pet

Posted on: January 3rd, 2012 by

A dog with dog insurance wears a party hat.

By: Dr. Fiona, DVM
For Pets Best Insurance

The New Year not only brings resolutions, it often brings new four-legged members to our families.

Why add a pet to your family? Experts agree that families with pets are generally healthier. Animals have proven stress reducing capabilities that even children can benefit from. They provide companionship and in the case of dogs, they demand that you become more active, enforcing your family’s healthy New Year’s goals. But are you and your family ready for a cat or dog?

3 Important Factors to consider before adding a pet

 1)     Your Family’s Lifestyle

Be honest and realistic with your lifestyle.  For example, a border collie or other very intelligent, high energy breeds will not do well in a family that lives in a condo with no yard and/or spends a lot of time away. One of the biggest mistakes I see dog owners make is selecting a dog that is too active for their lifestyle, and then they become frustrated when the dog is destructive or unruly due to boredom. If your pet does become unruly, pet medical insurance companies like Pets Best Insurance offer limited reimbursement for behavioral issues. But before adopting, do breed research and take into account the needs and temperaments of different breeds. And don’t forget cats! Cats can provide companionship and an element of responsibility, but in general require less ‘work’ than dogs.

 2)     Your Children’s Ages 

If your family includes children, pets are a wonderful way to teach children responsibility, while providing a lifelong bond. However, consider your child’s age. For example, toddlers and puppies can potentially play too rough together because neither understands the injuries they can cause one another.  Additionally, a child less than 10 to 12 years old is likely too immature to be able to handle all the responsibilities of caring for a dog, no matter how much they plead their case. Understand that as an adult, you will invariably be required to supervise and enforce the caretaking, and fill in where they lack. Be cautious about selecting ‘pocket pets’ such as reptiles, rodents and other ‘exotic’ animals, thinking they will be less work for your child. These animals can often have very specific husbandry requirements and sometimes are more difficult to care for than cats or dogs. Also, fewer pet insurance companies will cover these kinds of animals.

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3)     Your Budget

This is very important; pet care can be really expensive!  Pet costs are more than just food and toys, pets need veterinary care, both preventative and sickness. The ASPCA estimates the average family spends about $1500 in the first year alone on a dog and about $1,000 on a cat. This doesn’t even include the possibility of your pet becoming ill or injured and requiring emergency veterinary care. Strongly consider dog insurance and cat insurance as a way for your family to defray these costs. Accidents and illnesses are a part of your pet’s life, so be prepared with pet insurance so that you don’t have to struggle to pay for necessary treatments and/or go into credit card debt to pay for treatments.

Keeping these guidelines in mind, the rewards of pet ownership far outweigh the ‘work’ and responsibility involved in caring for them. Having animals is a wonderful part of childhood, teaching important life lessons and providing companionship. Many adults fondly remember their first pet and the irreplaceable bond they shared.

Happy New Year!

Pets are good for our health

Posted on: December 30th, 2011 by

A cat with pet health insurance rings in the new year.

By: Dr. Jack Stephens
US Pet Insurance Founder
President and Founder
Pets Best Insurance

It’s that time of the year again– the month that we all decide we’re going to be healthier, more fit and turn our lives around! Perhaps your resolution will be to lose weight, get your blood pressure in check, or sign up your furry friend for a pet insurance policy. But doctor visits and medications aside, did you know there is a more simple way to get your health in order that involves your pet?

Think of how much you look forward to interacting with your pet or how fast you hurry home to play with them at the end of the day. Think of all the things you do for them that you might not do or even allow from your spouse! It may be ok for your dog to “hog” the bed– but not your significant other!

The reason we have such affection for our pets is biological. Interacting with our pets releases hormones that make you feel good, increases neurotransmitters, reduces your blood pressure and reduces stress hormones– all of which have positive biological impacts to us. Pets not only play important roles in our lives, but they make us feel better too.

Overall, pet owners tend to be less lonely, have higher self-esteem and are more social than non pet owners. Studies have shown that pet owners recover from illnesses faster and are discharged from hospitals sooner than non pet owners.

Studies have also shown that pet-owning patients experience less pain than those who don’t own pets. Additionally, people with pets end up getting more exercise, likely because they incorporate their dog into their exercise program.

I have personally recommended pets to people who were on anti-depressants due to life changes. Shortly after obtaining a pet, many of the pet owners determined they no longer had a need for their prescription medications. Though I advise they talk with their doctor before making any such change, it’s interesting to think that interacting with pets can help people manage their health.

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These were people who had either recently lost a long-time spouse or had anxiety about an upcoming surgery. Even something as non interactive as fish tanks in senior care facilities, especially Alzheimer units, have been shown to greatly reduce anxiety. Aquariums have also been shown to improved patients’ eating habits and help them maintain their weight, which tends to be an issue for those afflicted with Alzheimers. Staff have even reported less “incidents” by patients when a pets are present in the facility.

Doctors are increasingly harnessing the power of pets to make a positive difference. They now understand that pets keep people happy and healthy and provide positive biological benefits– something us pet owners have known all along. For more information about how pets can benefit you and how you can help keep them healthy in return, visit Pets Best Insurance.

Top 14 most funny kitty names

Posted on: December 28th, 2011 by

A kitten with cat insurance looks at the camera.

By: Dr. Jane Matheys
Associate Veterinarian
The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital
For Pets Best Insurance

It’s said that laughter is the best medicine, and as a practicing veterinarian and pet insurance enthusiast, I know this this true! So here’s a dose of laughter that is sure to keep you healthy. I’ve always been amused by the funny names people choose for their cats. Here are some of the best that I’ve come across in my time as a vet.

1. Bird Dog
It’s what the owner really wanted to get, but a cat fit his lifestyle better. The poor kitty has to bear the brunt of the owner’s wishful thinking.

2. Mousetrap
Technically that’s what a cat is, so I can’t argue with this one.

3. Dog Food
A cat could be this too, I suppose. But I hope not! Unfortunately, we’ve seen our share of cats that have been chewed on or bitten by dogs. It’s instances like these where cat insurance can come in handy.

4. Boogyman
My colleague examined this cat. But his demeanor wasn’t as scary as his name implies.

5. Albus Percival Peanut
He started out as just Peanut, but that was too plain and his owners thought his name needed more bling! I’d say they achieved this goal.

6. Buttsey Wiggle
This is one of my all time favorites! It’s descriptive and cute. I always laugh when I see my own cats do their impression of “buttsey wiggle” when they’re about to pounce on an object.

7. Chunky Butt
There’s just something about those big, fluffy, kitty posteriors that captures owners’ imaginations!

8. Monk E. Buht
Of course, a guy came up with this one! Need I say more?

9. Skimbleshanks and Grizabella
They’re both from the T. S. Eliot poem and Broadway play “CATS”, but the first one is much harder to roll off the tongue.

10. Leonardo DiCatrio
There’ s plenty of famous people to play off their names.

11. Harley Davidson
If you have a cool last name, why not take advantage of it?

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12. Nickat Knight
Another last name you can work with. This refers to Nick at Night on the Nickelodeon channel, I belileve.

13. NBC
Also known as “Not Bill’s Cat.” When this stray was found, Bill said “This is not going to be my cat.” The cat had other ideas. Sorry Bill.

14. Very Delicious Omelet
This wins my category of most bizarre. This kitty suddenly appeared on the back deck one morning when the owners were cooking an omelet. Apparently they were good cooks, too. So what else could they call her, right?

For more information about cat health, behavior and cat insurance, visit Pets Best Insurance.